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Sexual Assault Civil Cases in California

Separate from criminal law, California civil law allows a person to seek justice and compensation for the emotional and physical injuries sustained from all types of sexual violence. All victims of sexual assault and sexual abuse have the right to file a claim and sue perpetrators for their damages. If you have been or currently are being sexually assaulted or abused, get to a place of safety and contact law enforcement. After you are safe, you can contact a civil attorney who can assist you in obtaining compensation for your damages. SEXUAL OFFENSES THAT CAN LEAD TO SEXUAL ASSAULT CIVIL CASES Any type of sex crime can be the grounds for a civil lawsuit. The following are common sexual offenses that lead to civil sexual assault lawsuits: Rape is defined as the unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, that can be with or without force, and completed by a sex organ, another body part, or with a foreign object, completed without the consent of the victim. Sexual Molestation. Molestation, also known as sex abuse, is abusive sexual behavior, and is often perpetuated by using force and/or taking advantage of another. When the abuse is by an adult towards an adolescent, this is referred to as child sexual abuse or statutory rape. Sexual Battery. Sexual battery is often a crime that is sexual in nature but does not involve penetration. This may be unwanted sexual touching of intimate body parts through fraud or without consent. Indecent Exposure. Indecent exposure is regarded as the deliberate public exposure by a person of a portion of their body, often a sexual organ, in a manner that is contrary to standards of appropriate behavior. Aggravated Sexual Abuse. Aggravated sexual abuse often involve the use of force, fear, or threats of bodily injury, death or kidnapping to coerce a victim to engage in an unwanted sexual act. It can also occur when drugs are given to an unknowing victim in order to render the victim unconscious for sexual purposes. Other types of offenses that can give rise to sexual assault cases can include sex and human trafficking, prostitution, the purchase or sale of a child for sexual purposes, the possession or distribution of child pornography, and sexual harassment. PARTIES THAT CAN SUE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT CRIMES IN CALIFORNIA Anyone who has been the victim of unwanted touching or an unwanted sexual act of any time can sue for the damages. If you have a question about whether you can seek civil restitution, speak to an attorney. In addition to the victim, family members may also be able to sue for damages if they meet one of the following criteria: The sexual assault or abuse resulted in the victim’s death. In this case the family of the victim can bring a wrongful death or survivor’s action on behalf of the victim’s estate. The family member witnessed the assault, resulting in a potential action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The assault or abuse resulted in a loss of moral support, intimacy, or companionship to a spouse or registered domestic partner (called the loss of consortium.) WHAT IS NEEDED TO FILE A SEXAUL ASSAULT LAWSUIT A common question is whether or not a victim must file criminal charges before they can file a civil lawsuit. In California, victims are not required to obtain a criminal conviction, or even a police report, before they can sue for damages. This means that even if the assault or abuse was never reported to the police, a victim can still seek damages. While a police report and criminal charges are not necessary, they can be helpful in a civil damages case. If reported, and followed by an investigation, any evidence located may be helpful in a lawsuit. Additionally, going to the police may help in bolstering the victim’s credibility. It is not uncommon for victims to not go to police, however, as victims often fear being believed and mistreated. If a victim does report to the police and the District Attorney chooses to not pursue criminal prosecution, or accepts a plea bargain, victims may feel discouraged. In this situation, a victim may feel they do not have a strong civil case. This does not mean a victim should not bring a civil case, or that a civil case will not be successful. In a civil case, the victim will actually be a party to the proceedings, meaning they get to decide whether the case is settled outside of court or if it goes to a trial. Finally, in a civil lawsuit, the burden of proof is lower than in criminal cases. This means that while the District Attorney may not have been able to prosecute a case to prove the extremely high burden of proof, a civil attorney may be able to meet the lower burden of proof for civil liability. SEXUAL ASSAULT CIVIL LAWSUIT BURDEN OF PROOF There is a difference between the burden of proof required for criminal and civil lawsuits in California. For criminal cases, the guilt must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” This is a high standard that can be hard to prove. In civil lawsuits, however, the burden is by a “preponderance of the evidence.” To satisfy this burden the jury must find that it is “more likely than not” that the defendant did in fact assault or abuse the victim. Another key difference is that in criminal trials it is necessary for all 12 jurors to agree on the defendant’s guilt before a conviction can be reached, while in civil cases it only takes 9 jurors to agree that the defendant is liable. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES ADULT CASES In California, victims who were adults at the time of the sexual assault and abuse have two years from the date of the assault seek civil damages. The time period for criminal charges is often shorter. One exception is when the defendant...

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Common Causes for Big Rig (Truck) Accidents in California

Roadway accidents always pose a significant safety risk. Accidents involving large commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers, eighteen-wheelers, and big rigs are an even greater risk. These large trucks can weigh up to twenty times the amount of a typical passenger car. Therefore, when these trucks are involved in an accident with a passenger car, it is almost a guarantee that they will crush the smaller vehicles.   There are significant safety regulations in place to prevent accidents caused by large trucks. However, it is not uncommon for truckers or truck companies to ignore safety regulations, increasing the risk of injury and death for those involved in accidents. Victims of these accidents are likely to sustain serious injuries, such as spinal injuries, amputations or life-altering brain damage, or to be killed.   If you have suffered as a result of an accident with a large truck, you may be able to recover compensation for any lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and property damage as a result of the accident. Reach out to a qualified attorney at Silva Injury Law who can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.   POTENTIAL CAUSES FOR TRUCK ACCIDENTS   Much like a car accident, truck accidents can happen at any time and in a variety of different ways. Large trucks, such as 18-wheelers and big rigs, are involved in 12 percent of traffic fatalities, despite only accounting for three percent of vehicles on the road.   Commercial truck drivers are considered professionals and are required to have special training and knowledge of increase safety regulations which control when and how they are able to drive their trucks. Unfortunately, both truck drivers and the companies that hire the drivers, may ignore the laws and regulations in order to increase delivery speeds. This may lead to drivers operating their trucks on an inadequate amount of sleep or with the assistance of drugs to stay awake. Companies may also fail to properly maintain tires, lights, brakes, and other equipment which can create an increased risk for serious accidents.   The following are common causes for big truck accidents:   Lack of experience or improper training Distracted or impaired driving Inappropriate and unsafe speeds Failure to obey traffic rules Driving while fatigued Lack of proper judgement   When a truck driver continues to operate their truck under any of these conditions, the risk for an accident that can lead to serious injury or death is increased.   PARTIES WHO CAN BE SUED FOLLOWING A TRUCK CRASH   There are a number of parties who may be liable when a truck accident takes place. Most often the truck driver will be a defendant in a claim. If the facts show that the driver was acting negligently while operating the vehicle, they can be held responsible for the losses and damages a victim suffered.   In addition to the driver the trucking company may also be sued. If the driver was an employee of a trucking company, they can be included in the lawsuit. If the company failed to maintain the truck properly, they may be held liable for potential damages. Similarly, if the truck company fails to provide adequate supervision for their employees or is negligent in the way they train their drivers, they may be responsible at least in part for the accident.   WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN A TRUCK CRASH   If you have been involved in a truck crash and have suffered due to the negligence of the truck driver, contact an attorney. You may have a right to compensation for your pain and suffering.

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Sexual Misconduct Cases in California

Sexual misconduct is a term that is used to describe a variety of sexual related crimes and behaviors. “Sexual misconduct” often refers to someone who is behaving in a sexual way towards another person without obtaining that person’s consent for the behavior. Misconduct also often occurs in relationships where the dynamic of power between partners is shifted insomuch that the partner with power uses such to engage in sexual relations. TYPES OF BEHAVIOR THAT ARE CONSIDERED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT In California, a wide range of behaviors fall under the umbrella of sexual misconduct. At the heart of these behaviors is the perpetrator acting in a sexual way without receiving consent. For example, if someone repeatedly hounds an uninterested party for sexual favors, and the other party shows discomfort and disinterest, this is sexual misconduct. If someone exposes themselves to another person without receiving that person’s consent, it is misconduct. If a person makes aggressive or even suggestive comments to someone who has not shown interest, this can be considered to be sexual misconduct. Given the nature of these types of offenses, it is common for misconduct to happen to individuals while on dates or with a current or past partner. For this reason, domestic and intimate partner violence, as well as stalking and dating violence may be considered sexual misconduct. WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT The most important thing to do is to get yourself to a safe place. Once safe, you can take the following steps: Seek medical help. Depending on the sexual misconduct, you may need to seek medical help. Medical professionals are trained to assist with individuals who have experienced a sexual crime and receiving medical treatment can be important in preserving evidence. Receiving psychological help in the form of a therapist can help as you process what has happened to you. Report the misconduct. It is often difficult to talk about what happened, as it is extremely violating and personal. Despite doing nothing wrong, you may experience self-blame and embarrassment. Speaking to someone about what has happened can help you receive the support and help you need. Preserve evidence. Your decision to report the misconduct is very personal, and it may take time for you to decide. It can therefore be extremely helpful to save evidence. Depending on the misconduct, this may include anything from clothing you were wearing to messages and pictures. Reach out to an attorney. When you decide you are ready to pursue legal action, contact a qualified attorney who can assist you in holding the perpetrator responsible. An attorney who is experienced in handling cases regarding sexual misconduct can ensure that you are heard and that your claim succeeds. PURSING CIVIL DAMAGES The civil justice system, unlike the criminal justice systems, allows survivors of sexual misconduct to bring claims for monetary damages. These claims, brought against the defendant, can help you receive compensation for your suffering related to their misconduct. Whether it is medical expenses, pain and suffering both of a physical and mental nature, loss of companionship, lost wages, or loss of earning potential. If you have suffered a loss of any kind due to another’s sexual misconduct towards you, you have a right to seek restitution. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct, reach out to an attorney at Silva Injury Law today who will provide you with honest, supportive, and aggressive

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace in California

Sexual harassment in the workplace is against the law in California and is viewed as a form of sex discrimination. Sexual harassment in the workplace refers to behavior such as unwelcome sexual advances, or physical, visual, or verbal conduct of a sexual nature. This behavior may create an intimidating, offensive, or hostile work environment and is based on an employee’s sex. It not necessary that the offensive conduct is motivated by sexual desire. Under California law it is sufficient that the offensive conduct be based upon an employee’s perceived or actual sex or gender identify, sexual orientation, pregnancy, childbirth, and gender related medical conditions.   If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, speak with an experienced attorney who can ensure you are compensated for any damages or lost work due to the harassment.   COMMON EXAMPLES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE   Harassment in the workplace can manifest in a variety of ways. The following are examples of common behavior that can be harassing in nature and lead to a hostile work environment:   Unwanted touching, such as back rubs, pinching, “accidental” brushes against your body Derogatory or sexual comments, jokes, epithets or slurs Discussion of sexual acts A threat to reduce your pay, hours, benefits, or other conditions of employment unless you comply with a sexual request An offer for benefits or employment in exchange for sexual favors The display of sexually suggestive pictures or objects Graphic or sexually degrading comments     WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE BEEN HARASSED AT WORK   If you have experienced or are currently experiencing harassment in the workplace, the following are important steps to take:   Read your company’s sexual harassment policy, which often will outline the actions to take when harassment is occurring. Be sure to put complaints in writing and keep detailed records of all incidents of harassment. In the records be sure to specify the date and time of the harassment and all individuals involved. Based on the guidelines in your company’s sexual harassment policy, reach out and inform your employer regarding the harassment. Failing to report the harassment may impact your ability to pursue remedies in the future, so it is incredibly important to report. File a complaint with the state or federal agency regarding the harassment.   PROVING SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE   In California, in order to establish sexual harassment, you must show that the conduct was either pervasive or so severe that it affected an employee’s ability to work. When the conduct affects employees’ ability to work, it is known as a “hostile work environment.” Not only can the target of the behavior have a harassment claim, but those who are forced to repeatedly witness inappropriate comments and actions can pursue a claim.   If you have been the victim of a hostile work environment or have been the target of sexual harassment in the workplace, and your employer has failed to adequately remedy the problem, reach out to an attorney. It is not uncommon for employers to refuse to act, or for the reporting of the harassment to lead to more harassment. In these situations, an attorney can guide you and protect your rights.

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Can People Be Crashproof?

The Victoria, Australia Transport Accident Commission (TAC), in conjunction with Patricia Piccinini, a local Melbourne artist, has constructed a prototype of a human that could better withstand crash crashes. They call their interactive life-size sculpture, Graham, and exhibit him to show people how vulnerable they are to injuries from car crashes. Graham can withstand collisions with 18 wheelers, high speed head on collisions, and SUV rollovers, but mere humans still suffer greatly from traffic accidents. The good news is that the right lawyer can get you compensation for your injuries. That’s why it’s important to speak to an experienced California car accident attorney as soon as possible. What Makes Graham Crashproof? Logan and Christian Kenfield are trauma surgeons at the Royal Melbourne Hospital provided Piccinini with the information about how the body responds to crashes, and ways to make it more resistant. They designed Graham’s face to be flat to absorb the energy of a collision. Other improvements on human physiology include his larger skull, with additional ligaments and cerebrospinal fluid, that better protects his brain. His knees are designed to move in many directions to avoid fractures during an accident. There’s padding on the ribs to better protect internal organs. He’s even designed to better withstand a pedestrian knockdown, with extra joints that help him move out of the way of oncoming traffic more quickly. What Can We Learn From Graham? Car accidents are the number one killer of young people in the United States, and Graham illustrates how lacking our bodies are to withstand crashes. That’s why it’s important to obey traffic signals, abide by speed limits, and never drive under the influence. It’s also important to avoid distractions while driving such as texting, eating, putting on makeup, or taking care of children. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, it’s important to speak to an experienced California car accident attorney as soon as possible.

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